David Huertas would sit this one out, joining teammates Eniel Polynice, Chris Warren, and Trevor Gaskins. Huertas, with a foot injury, may be available for the regular season finale at home against Mississippi State Saturday at 4 p.m.
But Wednesday night in Fayetteville, Ark., he ultimately wasn't needed. Other Rebels stepped up in a big way to lead Ole Miss to its second Southeastern Conference road win of the season.
"Just when you think ‘what else?' then this," said Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy after his team improved to 16-13 overall and 7-8 in SEC play. "David couldn't play and we obviously needed some people to step up. I thought we came out flat, and Arkansas shot it really well in the first half."
The Razorbacks (14-14, 2-13) were 52 percent (15-29) from the floor, including 53 percent (8-15) from 3-point range in the opening half.
But it was the Rebs who lit things up in the second half. After shooting a respectable 41 percent (11-27) from the floor in the first half, Ole Miss shot a sizzling 63 percent (19-30) in the second. The Rebels' 3-point shooting got better, too, from 2-of-7 in the first half to 7-of-12 in the second.
In other words, the Rebels made shots. And it paid off in a big way.
Meanwhile the Razorbacks cooled off. They were just 10-of-31 for 32 percent and made only 5-of-18 3-pointers in the final half.
In other words, the Hogs missed shots. And it cost them in a big way.
The Rebels were also clutch from the free throw line, especially in overtime; they were 9-of-10 in the extra five minutes from the charity stripe. The home team never made it to the free throw line in OT.
"Once we started scoring, we made that margin up really quickly," Kennedy said of the halftime deficit his team faced. "Once we got back in the game, our confidence started becoming more assertive. What a tremendous effort out of all of our guys."
Terrico White, with 29 points, kept hitting big shots for the Rebels. His 3-pointer with nine minutes left made it 65-61 Ole Miss. Another Terrico trey pushed the lead out to 70-63, and moments later yet another 3-pointer gave UM a 73-66 advantage. The freshman sensation was 5-8 from beyond the arc.
The Rebels actually made the final basket of regulation or they'd have lost. A Murphy Holloway layup made it 84-84. Arkansas then missed a game-winning 3-pointer, and a half-court heave at the buzzer by Terrico White was off the mark.
In overtime a Zach Graham layup pushed the UM margin out to 93-86 with 2:15 left. Making all those free throws in overtime ultimately did the trick.
"It was going to take a team effort to come into Arkansas and play and win without David Huertas," Kennedy said. "And that's exactly what we got."
Ole Miss trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half. The Rebels outrebounded the Hogs 46-36 in the contest.
Ole Miss had four in double figures – Terrico White with 29, Zach Graham with 20, Will Bogan with 16, and Murphy Holloway with 11. Holloway had 10 rebounds for a double-double.
The Razorbacks were led by Rotnei Clarke's 19, one of five Hog players in double figures.
"We want to have the opportunity to play significant basketball," Kennedy said of the remainder of the 2008-09 season. "Tonight's victory kept that alive."
The winner of the UM-MSU game will finish third in the SEC West this season behind LSU and Auburn. The Rebels beat Mississippi State in Starkville earlier this season.
Extra Period Win
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